British golfer Georgia Hall had her best season as a professional. She won the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham — the first major victory by an English woman in 14 years — and was named the Ladies European Tour Player of the Year. She also earned her LPGA card.
But Hall’s success did not appear to resonate with the BBC, which failed to include her on its Sports Personality of the Year “shortlist.” Hall was in attendance at the awards show, but she appeared for only 10 seconds on the telecast and was not asked to speak. Her facial expression suggested she was less than thrilled.
The perceived slight against Hall — and the women’s game — has sparked criticism toward the BBC. Some observers accused the network of sexism for overlooking Hall’s accomplishments, including several prominent names in the British golf world. Fellow Women’s British Open champion Catriona Matthew blamed the snub on the lack of coverage and exposure for female golfers, arguing that a female Wimbledon champion or male British Open champion would have made the BBC’s list.
Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood and BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter also came to Hall’s defense.
Always a very inspiring night #SPOTY and grateful to have the chance to sit amongst so many sporting and life heroes. Very worthy winner @GeraintThomas86 ! However, @georgiahall96 gets 10 seconds of airtime for her incredible achievements ??
— Tommy Fleetwood (@TommyFleetwood1) December 16, 2018
Can’t believe @georgiahall96 not nominated for SPOTY. Well I can but a British winner of the men’s Open would surely have made the list wouldn’t they?
— Iain Carter (@iaincartergolf) December 16, 2018
No Fury, ok. But how the f+++ didnt Georgia Hall not get on the shortlist? Imagine if a women's tennis player had won Wimbledon? SPOTY gets more and more stupid
— James Corrigan (@jcorrigangolf) December 16, 2018
I know moaning about #SPOTY contenders is like shouting at a brick wall, but Georgia Hall missing out is a national scandal and I demand heads roll.
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) December 16, 2018
The shortlist included soccer player Harry Kane, sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, cricketer James Anderson, Olympic skeleton racer Lizzy Yarnold and the eventual winner, cyclist Geraint Thomas.
The show also honored England’s soccer team, which advanced to the semis of the World Cup, with a lengthy tribute.